Albatron PX875P Pro - Page 6

..:: PX875P System BIOS ::..

As far as the PX875P Pro’s BIOS goes, Albatron has opted to go with a Phoenix Award BIOS setup, a setup that is more familiar in the OEM world than what we normally come across here in the enthusiast community. This BIOS setup is also common on Intel brand motherboards, which are, of course, geared more towards the mid-range consumer than an enthusiast. When the BIOS is initially entered into, there is a horizontal selection of menus ranging from the standard “Main” where simple selections are shown, to “Defaults” which allows for selection of setting to Normal of performance settings. These settings are similar, if not identical, to what we see in other BIOS’ only presented in a new way. Let’s take a look through these menus to see what the PX875P Pro has to offer.

The first menu that we’ll be diving into is labeled as “Advanced”. Upon entering this menu, we find a wide array of settings as well as four submenus available. The top setting selections are typical of this portion of the BIOS, as they control both boot order and boot priority for the given devices. There are four available submenus, each covering one specific aspect of the PX875P Pro’s capabilities. These submenus are labeled “Advanced BIOS Features”, “Advanced Chipset Features”, “PnP/PCI Configurations”, and “Frequency/Voltage Control”.

Within the BIOS feature submenu, we find that here the user is given the option to enable an array of options for the PX875P Pro. Some of these options are whether to enable or disable the on die L1 & L2 Cache, Hyper-Threading Technology, Quick POST, and HDD S.M.A.R.T. capabilities. The advanced chipset features submenu houses all of the oh-so-important memory timing options. While Albatron allows for the standard memory timings to be manually adjusted, there are no other tweaking options available that would make the PX875P Pro a standout for tweaking options. Albatron offers the standard CAS, RAS to CAS, RAS to Precharge, and Precharge timing selections. Some of the more advanced timings can be adjusted with the P.A.T. Mode option. This setting allows for adjustment of how aggressive the internal memory settings will be configured at. Four our testing purposes, we ran with this setting at Auto, although we did experience instability and were unable to boot at times with higher settings, likely due to RAM.

The last submenu that we’ll be covering from the “Advanced” portion of the BIOS is the “Frequency/Voltage Control” submenu. This portion of the BIOS will be home to the overclocker, although some aspects might be a little disappointing to some. To start things off, we have the CPU Host Frequency, also known as the FSB. Wisely, Albatron has offered the typical wide array of available options that are more than enough to suit the overclocker. Albatron claims the board to support up to a 1.2GHz FSB, and the FSB options certainly seem to back it up on the BIOS end. The next option deals with the DDR:CPU ratio. Here we find that not only does Albatron offer the typical 1.33X, 1.60X, and 2.00X options, but they also allow for the DRAM to be run with a “Turbo” setting at ratios of 2.00X and 2.50X.

Just below the memory ratio options, we find the AGP/PCI/SATA clock settings. Since the i875P chipset features the capability for a locked bus speed, Albatron offers an incredible range of preset speeds for each of the busses. The last three items it the Frequency / Voltage window allow for adjustment of the AGP, DRAM, and CPU voltages. The CPU voltage settings are weak to say the least. The only options that were made available were +.1V, +.2V, and +.3V. No undervoltage options, nor more overvoltage options were provided. The AGP and DRAM voltage settings were all typical of what can be normally seen, a 1.60V AGP max, and a 2.90V DRAM max.

Next up, we have the Peripherals menu. I can’t really address this menu all that much as it is self explanatory. The peripherals menu houses all of the options to control enabling or disabling integrated devices such as LAN, Audio, Serial Ports, Parallel Ports, and on the occasion the kitchen sink as well. Okay, maybe not quite that much but you get the point. If you wish to enable or disable any feature of the PX875P Pro, this is where you’ll need to head in order to do so. Sound good? Let’s move on.

The last menu that we’ll be covering is yet another window that really need no introduction, that being the HW Monitor menu. This menu has two options available for a warning signal when the case has been opened, and another for the CPU FAN temperature. This window shows off the various temperature readings given by the motherboard, as well as fan RPM and voltage readings. As you can see, the PX875P Pro gives off a high temperature value for our 3.20GHz “Prescott” processor we’re using for our tests. We found that this number wasn’t all too accurate as it wouldn’t fluctuate nearly as much as it should when the system was strained, so take it with a grain of salt.

Overall, the Albatron PX875P Pro ships with a decent BIOS, excelling in some aspects, while in others it is a bit dry. We initially didn’t find many more advanced options for memory tweaks, although once we toyed with the options for controlling the P.A.T. mode, as well as setting our memory to “Turbo” 2.00X for the DRAM:CPU ratio, we found that all of these settings were merely hidden underneath others. The most disappointing aspect of the BIOS had to be the CPU voltage settings, or sever lack thereof. I was hoping for some better options, although given the fact this board can be used with the “Prescott” core Pentium 4 processor, it is understandable that Albatron would want to limit the VCore options to protect themselves. Albatron isn’t the first to do this, and somehow I doubt they’ll be the last. I was hoping for some actual undervoltage options as we have found a drop of .1V can yield a nearly 6-7C loss of load temperature with the right heatsink / conditions.

..:: PX875P Overclocking ::..

Now comes the time that most of you start to pay more attention, heh, overclocking results. Well, we saw that Albatron claims support of up to a 1.20GHz FSB, and we set out to determine if this was fact, or marketing. What did we find? We found that it was marketing, and that this board also has a love for hard drive corruption when overclocked too far. We were able to reach a roughly 1.00GHz FSB speed with maximum stability, which is enough for most users out there, but the 1.20GHz was a no go. Actually, anything about 1.04GHz or so was a no go…and corrupted our hard drive. Repeatedly. Needless to say, if you’re looking for a solid motherboard for overclocking, although this board allows for a good amount, I just don’t trust it enough to recommend it to the heavy OC crowd until Albatron can address the hard drive corruption issues.